Rob Dauster

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CBT Podcast: Syracuse and Indiana transfers, Kentucky offers and SMU’s hiring practices

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Sam Vecenie joins Rob Dauster for a six pack of burning questions: How bad will Syracuse be without Taurean Thompson? Was Indiana in the wrong to cut Grant Gelon? How bad did Mitchell Robinson mess everything up? Is SMU playing dirty by hiring a recruit’s father? And is Kentucky’s failure to offer Louis King a bad sign for their 2017-18 team?

Wake Forest brings in Marshall grad transfer Thompson

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Wake Forest has added graduate transfer Terrence Thompson from Marshall.

Coach Danny Manning announced the addition of Thompson on Monday, calling him “someone who comes in with a level of maturity and experience” that can help the program.

Thompson started 21 of 23 games for the Thundering Herd and had nine games in double figures in points. He began his college career at Charlotte, redshirted in 2013-14 and transferred to a junior college in Georgia before coming to Marshall two years ago.

He fills the roster spot vacated by Dinos Mitoglou, who decided last month to skip his senior season and play professionally in his home country of Greece.

Purdue falls to Lithuania, wins silver medal at World University Games

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After a series of dominant performances as Team USA’s representative in the World University Games, Purdue left Taipei with a silver medal following an 85-74 loss to Lithuania in the gold medal game.

Carsen Edwards finished with 23 points while Isaac Haas chipped in with 17 and Vince Edwards finished with 16.

Overall, the trip was a promising one for the Boilermakers, who, at least on paper, look like they’ll be able to survive the departure of Caleb Swanigan as an NCAA tournament team with the potential to climb into the top 25 and compete with Minnesota and Northwestern as Michigan State’s biggest Big Ten challenger. We know what they’re going to be — team that plays with two points guards and parks four sharp-shooters around Isaac Haas — and on the nights when those threes are falling, they are going to be tough to beat.

As a team, they were 16th nationally in three-point percentage last season, and they shot better than 43 percent from beyond the arc on this trip. Where they may struggle is when teams go big against them and pound the glass. In the finals here, Lithuania had 17 offensive rebounds.

Overall, this loss should not be all that concerning. Lithuania is one of the best basketball nations in Europe. Their roster is full of players that could compete at the high major level, including Notre Dame’s starting center, Martinas Geben.

What’s more important is that the Boilermakers essentially got a month-long head start on trying to figure out how they are going to replace Swanigan in the games that actually matter.

Syracuse loses promising sophomore Taurean Thompson

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Syracuse sophomore forward Taurean Thompson has withdrawn from the school, according to Syracuse.com.

Thompson was expected to play a major role for the Orange this season. The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 9.2 points in just over 17 minutes as a freshman, and with Tyler Lydon and Andrew White III gone, he and Tyus Battle were going to be counted on to carry the scoring load.

“We have been informed that Taurean is taking a leave of absence from Syracuse University,” head coach Jim Boeheim said in a statement.  “My understanding is he wants to go to school closer to home due to some family health issues.”

Without Thompson, the Orange will not be without six of their top seven scorers from a team that went 19-15 last season and missed out on the NCAA tournament.

Report: Mitchell Robinson is now back at Western Kentucky

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Mitchell Robinson’s recruitment took another strange turn over the weekend.

The 7-foot- McDonald’s All-American center and potential lottery pick has returned to Western Kentucky to play his freshman season, according to Scout.

If he does, this will go down as one of the weirdest recruitments that I can remember. Let’s recap it, shall we? Robinson committed to Rick Stansbury and Western Kentucky last summer, just a couple of weeks after Robinson’s godfather, Shammond Williams, was hired as an assistant coach with the program. He signed in November and enrolled for summer school in July, but after just a couple of weeks of classes, Robinson left school and received a release to transfer from the program. He visited Kansas, LSU and New Orleans, but since he was technically a transfer and would have to sit out the 2017-18 season, those deals all fell through.

Which left Robinson in a difficult spot.

He could sit out the season and train for the NBA Draft, which is what it was reported he was considering doing last week. He could try and find a professional team to play for, either in the G League or overseas. Or, and this was probably always the smartest move, he could tuck his tail between his legs and return to WKU.

And if he does end up staying and playing for WKU all year long, it will be the first time in this whole saga that he actually did what he was expected to do.

Want to make college basketball more relevant? Play the games we actually care about

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It looks like we can cross Maryland and Georgetown off the list of obvious local rivals that are too dumb and stubborn to play each other.

In each of the last two seasons, the Terps and the Hoyas have produced two terrific, thoroughly entertaining basketball games early on in the non-conference season when college basketball is desperately trying to find a way into the conversation. In 2015, then-No. 3 Maryland beat the Hoyas 75-71 in College Park. The return game came last season, when the Hoyas somehow blew a nine-point lead in the final minutes in a loss at the Verizon Center.

But now that the Gavitt Games is no longer forcing the two biggest basketball brands in the nation’s capital to play each other, don’t expect it to happen again anytime soon.

From the Washington Post:

When asked if scheduling Maryland was a priority and a task he had thought about, Ewing flashed a wide grin and asked the room: “Who did he say?”

“I’m not thinking about Maryland. I’m not sure if or when we will schedule Maryland. My focus is on getting us back strong,” Ewing said.

And so it goes.

It has become all too common in college basketball for some of the most obvious and heated rivalries in the sport to never get played, and it sucks. Kansas is still too bitter about Missouri leaving for the SEC to schedule the Tigers, but don’t worry, Jayhawks fans, you still get those games against Washington, Stanford, Arizona State and Nebraska this year!

Duke and Maryland, which was almost as intense as Duke-North Carolina for a stretch of time in the late-90s and early-to-mid-00s, won’t ever get played for that same reason. If that matchup gets scheduled before Mike Krzyzewski retires I’ll be shocked.

Texas played Texas A&M during the 2015-16 season, but they needed the Battle 4 Atlantis to schedule it as an opening round matchup to make it happen. Ohio State has not played a non-conference game against Cincinnati since 2006, Dayton since 1988 and Xavier since 1935. Dayton and Xavier have not scheduled each other since Xavier left the Atlantic 10.

Pitt and West Virginia are only now reigniting the Backyard Brawl, which would be great if the Panthers weren’t an epic disaster at this point. Credit should be given to Syracuse, who has scheduled UConn, Georgetown, Villanova and St. John’s since they’ve left the Big East, but they aren’t going to be able to play everyone of those teams every year. Gonzaga and Washington went a decade between games.

Conferences can’t even get this stuff right. The idea that Indiana and Purdue will only play one Big Ten game against each other this season is pathetic, although the fact that Indiana is going to have themselves a rebuilding year probably takes away some of the angst.

That list is both too long and not complete.

And frankly, I’m not even sure that playing these rivalry games would be enough to make all that big of a difference in how much attention is paid to college basketball in November and December. Unless college hoops can find a way to make football go away or the NBA an inferior product — neither of those things are going to happen — they’re always going to be third fiddle.

But I do know this: There would be a whole lot more interest from each team’s fanbase if they played these rivalry games. What do you think Duke fans want to see more: A game against Maryland or the Blue Devils playing in the PK80 Invitational, seven buy games and a trip to St. John’s?

How much interest do you think could be generated nationally by promoting a game built around the craziest comeback in college basketball history?

How awesome would it be if, in a football state, headlines were made in the fall around a four-team double-header featuring matchups between the four Ohio schools?

Am I truly the only person that wants to see Michael Porter Jr. step into Allen Fieldhouse and have a go at Kansas?

If we really want to make college basketball more relevant, find a way to make the coaches with eight-figure contracts play the games that their fans actually give a damn about. Until then, I hope the fans paying for season tickets enjoy the first seven games of their ticket package coming against teams that get paid upwards of $100,000 to come to town and lose by 30.